Without the love of books the richest man is poor, but endowed with this treasure the poorest man is rich. –Leon Gutterman

Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Frontiersman's Daughter

by Laura Frantz

Blond and young, energetic and bold, Lael Click is a girl growing up fast in Kentucke, the territory destined to become the state of Kentucky. What is the destiny of the daughter of Ezekial Click? Will she remain barefooted and free living outside the fort named for her father? Will she become the young wife of her best friend's brother, Simon--an albeit charming boy, but harboring some troubling qualities? Will Lael turn to teaching inside the walls of the fort, feeling the walls containing her? Limiting her freedom?

This beautiful story set in the late 1700s is more than just a piece of historical fiction, it is an intensely personal glimpse at frontier life, the beauty and the raw realities of limited water, limited food, challenging weather and always close by, Indians.

Laura Frantz offers characters with many faceted personalities, many secrets shut away that come back to haunt, not only the secret bearer, but their children. The gritty everyday work of just surviving speaks from every page, but Frantz writes in such a way that the reader can catch a glimpse of the call that challenged so many to leave civilized life and endure many trials in the quest for "a new life."

The Frontiersman's Daughter was hard to put down. I must admit to a couple of nights lost sleep because I just wanted to finish "one more chapter." There was a little housework undone also. It was the perfect summer read for out on the patio.

Love, Loss and Forgiveness on the Kentucky Frontier

Stunning debut novel will delight historical fiction fans of Lynn Austin
in this story of romance and adventure during one of America’s most exciting eras

In The Frontiersman’s Daughter, debut novelist Laura Frantz plants readers into the demanding realities of frontier life during the time in American history when Daniel Boone was settling Kentucky. This story has personal significance to Frantz, because her ancestors were among those settlers who journeyed with Boone—and many remain in those original areas of Kentucky.

Drawing from cherished family lore as well as in-depth research in her writing, Frantz is able to paint a story with a distinct, captivating authenticity.

Frantz introduces readers to Lael Click, who is lovely but tough as nails and coming of age in the fragile Kentucky settlement that her father—a celebrated frontiersman—founded. Life as a pioneer isn’t easy, and it’s more than just the hardships of living in the wilderness that Lael must contend with: The arrival of an outlander doctor threatens her view of the world, God, and herself—as well as the power of grace and redemption.

In the midst of this, Lael must also face the loss of a childhood love, a dangerous family feud, the affection of a Shawnee warrior and the secret sins of her family’s past. Rather than give up, this strong woman draws strength from the rugged land she calls home. This epic novel gives readers a glimpse into the simple yet daring lives of the pioneers who first crossed the Appalachians, all through the courageous eyes of a determined young woman.

Laura Frantz credits her 100-year-old grandmother as being the catalyst for her fascination with Kentucky history. Frantz’s family followed Daniel Boone into Kentucky in 1792 and settled in Madison County where her family still resides. Frantz is a former schoolteacher and social worker who currently lives in Port Angeles, Washington, with her husband and two sons, whom she homeschools.

Monday, August 24, 2009

A Different Kind of Wild--Blog Book Tour

God's timing is perfect and this book--A Different Kind of Wild: Is Your Faith Too Tame? by Debbie Alsdorf was just what I needed to read right now. You know those little sticky tabs you can use to highlight a good part in a book? My copy of this is covered in stickies!

Debbie Alsdorf is not afraid to show the gritty realities of humanity and share the struggles to walk away from a listless life to a life that is untamed and, yes, wild for GOD.

"Many of us have learned to live like we are dead. Here's a news flash: dead girls aren't wild; they're lifeless, useless, and buried in self. But women who are alive in Christ and actively living up in the truth of GOD's Word are passionate, free, unconventional, and courageous." p. 23.

WOW. What do you say to that? How do you respond? The gauntlet was thrown just daring me to stay rooted in a stale state of selfishness.

Ms. Alsdorf address wild living in the forms of not conforming to culture, not waiting to be perfect, forgiveness, refusing to worry, making the decision to love and so many other areas.

No sweet sounding, but unattainable dreams in this book; Alsdorf offers real choices we all can make, if only we are brave enough to be seen as different. As WILD.

This would be a fabulous book for anyone as a personal devotional, but I am sure it would be a wonderful study for a women's group, offering a chance to grow together and upwards in relationship with GOD.

A Different Kind of Wild: Is Your Faith Too Tame by Debbie Alsdorf from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group, is available now for purchase in stores and online. Many thanks to Baker Publishing for allowing me to review this blessing of a book.

From the publisher:
Time to Leave Tame Faith Behind

Get ready to experience the adventurous spiritual life God has for you

When Debbie Alsdorf speaks to Christian women, she has a message for them: “Go wild.” And she means it—but she’s talking about a different kind of wild living than the image we’re most familiar with.

“This new wild is about taking our lives back,” she says. “It’s about becoming women who dare to live differently—wild in surrender, wild in devotion, wild in service, and wild in following what God calls us to.”

She encourages women to embrace the adventure God has for them, and watch their faith flourish like never before. She looks at how women can be risk-takers for Christ, stand firm in crises, confront fear with truth, dare to live by a different standard and find courage to follow a new life path.

Alsdorf explains this call to becoming wild: “’Wild’ stands for ‘women in lifelong development.’” While this might sound intimidating and out-of-reach to some women, she points out that it is a process. “The key is understanding that it’s a lifelong development. There are no overnight spiritual success stories. We are on a journey with God: Each day the pages of life are turned, and line by line our story unfolds. It is a process.”

With passion and deep, Scriptural insights, Alsdorf—an exciting conference speaker, women’s ministry leader and Bible teacher—helps women live transformed lives with untamed faith and courageous obedience to God’s leading. Reflection questions are included, making this book an ideal resource for personal study or small-group use.

Debbie Alsdorf is the author of Deeper. As the founder of Design4Living Ministries, she seeks to encourage women to Live Up! in the truth of God’s Word. Since 1997, she has been the director of women’s ministries at Cornerstone Fellowship, where she and her team lead a vibrant women’s ministry. Debbie is a biblical lay counselor and a member of the Association of Christian Counselors. She lives in Northern California.

"Wow! This book is a must read for everyone who desires to live life wildly different. Instead of being led by our emotions and ever changing circumstances, Debbie shows how to live a life of confident faith in God’s truth. Her honest reflections, practical advice, and God inspired insights show us a radically different way to live. I’m encouraging every woman at our church to get a copy."
— Rachel Johnston, pastor of women's ministry, Bayside Church, Granite Bay,California

"A Different Kind of Wild is Debbie Alsdorf's best work yet … and it's no doubt the result of its message being lived and proved out in her own life. Now that's the kind of book I want to read; as well as the only kind of book I'll recommend."
— Julie Barnhill, author of One Tough Mother

Hello Cupcake!

by Karen Tack and Alan Richardson

Looking for a fun way to dress up cupcakes? Look no further than this sweet book, Hello Cupcake!: Irresistibly Playful Creations Anyone Can Make An unbelievable number of fantastic ideas that will make you the hero when you deliver the goodies.

Part of this book's appeal is the lack of special cake decorating tools that are needed. Plastic sandwich bags, tubs of premade frosting and a couple boxes of cake mix and the ability to read and follow directions are all that is required.

What fun!

I have to admit I bought the book solely for the Pup Cakes to delight my sometimes hard to impress newly nine year old. More results can be seen at my Joyful Days blog. But there are so many great ideas in this book, we will be using it again and again.

For the cupcake enthusiasts, there is a website and a blog to further the cupcake cuteness.

Too sweet! Literally!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Blog Book Tour--The Knight

Doctor Patrick Bowers, FBI agent and geoprofiler is facing off with yet another serial killer. This killer is unlike any other he's seen before. One of the victims? A murderer on the FBI's Most Wanted List, a man stalking Agent Bowers and his stepdaughter Tessa. Why? Has a serial killer saved Patrick Bowers?

The victims are killed in pairs. The death scenes are nearly works of art--almost poetic...almost? What or who has inspired these brutal homicides? How many more people are on the grizzly list? Just as important might be who else is on the list?

And this latest killer is not Bowers' only concern. A convicted cannibal Bowers helped put away thirteen years ago is being considered for release. How much of the truth will Patrick be willing to share in the name of justice. Agent Bowers wrestles with himself to see where the line is between himself and the criminals he tracks down.

Author Steven James weaves the twisted and sinister tale magnificently. This master storyteller's web is deathly and disturbing. It is hard to comprehend how he can look repeatedly into the minds of ruthless killers and share their manipulative methods.

As in The Pawn and The Rook, Mr. James style is rapid fire and unrelenting, leading the reader on a frantic chase with Bowers where time has already run out for so many victims. How many more people will succumb to the terror of this madman?

Mr. James subtly injects a strong Christian message into his writing. I was deeply touched by the pro-life theme he included in this novel. But a serious note of caution: The Knight is graphic and not for the faint of heart. Be prepared to lose a little sleep if reading into the wee hours.

The Knight is available August 2009 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group. Many thanks to Baker Publishing for providing this chilling read.

From the publisher, reviews for The Knight and Steven James:

Killer is on the Loose with an Ancient Manuscript as His Guide

New thriller from critically acclaimed novelist takes readers on a shocking rollercoaster ride to stop this violent killer before it’s too late.

Steven James is one of the nation’s most innovative storytellers—with a Master of Arts in Storytelling degree to prove it. For the past decade, he has been crafting compelling and evocative stories that pull readers into the thick of his brilliant, mind-bending plots, and his latest creative endeavor is no different: The Knight, the third installment in his bestselling series of thrillers, is full of the chilling twists and adrenaline-laced action that readers have come to expect from James.

The Knight picks up in The Bowers Files series, starring FBI criminologist Patrick Bowers, who is assigned to tracking the country’s most dangerous killers. But when he is called to his most disturbing crime scene yet, Bowers begins to realize that this criminal mastermind has actually been tracking him.

To get to the bottom of this cold-blooded case, Bowers uses his cutting-edge investigative techniques to decipher the evidence and Your browser may not support display of this image. discovers that the murderer has been using an ancient manuscript as a blueprint for his crimes. This sends Bowers on a race against time to stop the killer before he takes his next victim in another grisly crime.

But even as he is working to crack the clues of this bloody trail, Bowers finds himself stumped by another matter: An old murder case haunts him, causing him to question himself and wonder which is more important—truth or justice. The answer might set a killer free or change Bowers into a criminal himself.

Keeping readers guessing until the very end, James has earned rave reviews from the likes of Publishers Weekly, which called his thrillers “a wild ride with a shocking conclusion.” The Knight offers readers more of the same, as the satisfying follow-up to his previous bestselling psychological thrillers in The Bowers Files series, The Pawn and The Rook.

Praise from real-life investigators

"Steven James's ability to use modern, up-to-date investigative
techniques to solve his criminal mysteries places him
at the forefront of current mystery writers."
— E. Cleon Glaze, retired FBI agent, Alaska

"Steven James combines 21st-century high-tech law enforcement
techniques with 18th-century Sherlockian deduction
to craft an exciting, suspense-filled story."
— Dr. Kim Rossmo,
Center for Geospatial Intelligence and Investigation, Texas State University

The Knight is available August 2009 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group. Many thanks to Baker Publishing for providing this chilling read.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Romancing Hollywood Noboday--Review

I finally caught up with the Hollywood Nobody, aka Scotty Dawn, a little later than I would have liked. But I was glad I did. Scotty is back in Lisa Samson's third book of the series. She is on the road with her grandmother and, hallelujah!--with her father and they are on the set of another movie where Scotty is growing in her faith and as a young woman.

Just like the previous Hollywood Nobody books, Samson's uses a fresh and open approach having her characters deal with relevant teen issues such as dealing with family, serious illness, dating, alcohol, celebrity idols, making a difference in the world around oneself and most importantly growing in a relationship with the LORD.

Familiar faces such as Seth Haas, Scotty's celebrity crush that she's actually friends with, Seth's parents, and Jeremy the indie film director, make appearances. New characters have a Scottish appeal. Will Scotty forget about Seth for a bagpiper who looks good in a kilt?

The first three Hollywood Nobody books are fun fast reads. I highly recommend them for the fourteen and older set and any moms out there that want an enjoyable positive treat. I'll be off to get Nobody book #4--Goodbye, Hollywood Nobody already out.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Vacationing on Blossom Street

A while back I won Debbie Macomber's Summer on Blossom Street at my sweet friend Renee's blog. (Renee is now posting mainly at her new blog--A Path of Joy, you should visit her!) I've been wanting to read Debbie Macomber's stories since I heard about her and this seemed like a great introduction.

But in true Julie fashion, after realizing Summer on Blossom Street wasn't the first of the Blossom Street books, I had to see if I could find the start of the story. And I did!! The Shop on Blossom Street was available at my library branch and I grabbed that and put the other stories on hold. Somehow I didn't realize that they arrived out of order and after flying through the first (in a day and a half) I jumped into Back on Blossom Street, which is the third book. And in a couple more days I had finished Summer on Blossom Street.

Five days on Blossom Street (amidst travel and restarting school for the boys and just general life) was awesome!! As a relatively new and very obsessed knitter, I was charmed by Lydia Hoffman's store. I love that Debbie includes a knitting project in each of her books. I think I need to start listening to audiobooks, though, because the only problem I've found with knitting, besides storing my yarn stash, is that you cannot knit and read at the same time!!

Debbie Macomber's characters are varied and vulnerable, each in their own unique way. The common thread that connects them all is Lydia Hoffman--a young, two time cancer survivor, who recently lost her father. Lydia is stepping out in faith, believing that she will meet life head on and enjoy it the way her father would have approved of.

In The Shop on Blossom Street we meet Lydia's sister, Margaret in the first book, we also meet Alix Townsend, a tough young woman with community service hours to fill, Carol Girard who prays for a child, and wealthy Jacqueline Donovan who proves money doesn't buy happiness. These original characters remain friends with Lydia, some of them taking background roles, some remaining in the forefront of subsequent books. And in the following books of the series we continue to meet new knitters, all with stories that lead them to A Good Yarn, Lydia's shop.

No one is perfect at A Good Yarn, and they certainly have mixed and sometimes questionable backgrounds, and yet they all charm their way into my heart. God's redeeming love is evident on Blossom Street and that is why I will be returning to visit there often.

Thanks, Renee for getting me started on Blossom Street and Debbie Macomber. I can't wait to go back!